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Do you have a death wish?

If you Google “What happens at the time of death and after?” you’ll get over four billion answers in less than half a second. The top answer from an American clinic discusses what happens to the physical body, the vital organs and brain activity. It’s all very medical. There’s no mention of the soul and what happens beyond the physical, which no doubt is because they don’t know.

The Great Master addressed this same question in his book Philosophy of the Masters explaining “to solve this riddle, people have spared no efforts” adding “The intellect fails. The learned and the illiterate are equally helpless in resolving this mystery. The reason is that no one has returned after death to relate to us his knowledge.”1

This same sentiment dominates many of the answers on Google; that no one has traversed the Gates of Death and returned to relate the tale. But, of course, that’s not strictly true. As Great Master continues, “a Master alone knows everything about death.” They have solved the mystery of death. “They leave the human body every day and travel into the Astral and Causal regions.”2 Not only that, but at the time of death, when we leave all our loved ones and worldly possessions, it’s the Master alone who accompanies us on the inner journey beyond this physical plane.

The Masters see death as a very matter-of-fact event, and certainly one not to be feared. “It is merely the withdrawal of the soul from the gross senses and its entrance into finer regions.”3 Great Master explains.

Indeed, the Masters see death as a very positive outcome enabling us to leave behind the torment of this physical world they often describe as a prison and a place of pain and misery, whereas the norms of society characterizes death as a hugely traumatic event; something to be mourned. Descriptive words such as bereavement, loss, demise, decease and even the grim reaper are used to express sadness at the ending of a physical life whereas the birth of a new baby into the physical is greeted with much joy and happiness and celebratory activities.

At the physical level these emotions are only natural. We have to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in, and humans are naturally very sociable beings so there’s nothing more welcoming than a new life entering a family and nothing more distressing than losing the companionship of a loved one with whom we may have shared our whole life.

There are no better examples of extreme joy and the desperate grief we experience as human beings in our lives than reactions to birth and death.

But when we follow a spiritual path under the guidance and wisdom of a Master we learn, while these emotions and experiences in the physical are natural feelings to have, they need to be contextualized by the higher objective of our inner soul heading back to its ultimate home in the spiritual realm.

The human life has been given to us to prepare for that inner journey by loosening our ties to the physical world and turning our attention towards that inner goal. This can only be done by following the instructions to live by the four principles of a lacto-vegetarian diet, abstinence from alcohol, drugs and tobacco, leading an honest, moral life and, crucially, attending to daily meditation.

It is our meditation which is the all important task we must attend to. The Masters describe it as a preparation to die. By doing our meditation we are aiming to “die daily” and “die while living”. Great Master explains, “a person who dies while living lives forever,” He adds “this dying while living has nothing to do with being cremated or buried. It is a state or condition in which the Master bestows eternal life on his disciples”4.

It’s also explained that we can only achieve this state through the Grace of the Master. We’d not attempt a complicated journey in the physical world without seeking advice and guidance from the Internet, travel directories, and these days, even SatNavs, but if we have the help and guidance of someone who has actually undertaken that journey and indeed offers to accompany us along the way, we’d jump at the chance to secure their assistance.

“Dying while living is not accomplished easily,”5 Great Master explains. It involves subduing the mind, curbing desires and cravings, and eliminating the ego. This is not going to be achieved by switching a switch or an overnight sensation. It takes dedication and practice over a long and sustained period, probably for our entire lifetime. Our greatest friend in achieving this goal is our Simran. By repeating the Names on a daily basis with all the love and dedication we can muster, we will slowly loosen the mind’s attachments and desires in the physical and become focused at the eye centre.

We are aiming for a state of one-pointed concentration such that consciousness separates from the body, which Great Master explains is what’s described as “dying while living.”6 “The practitioner leaves his body in the same way that the soul leaves it at the time of death. The difference is only that his connection with the physical body is not completely broken.”7

For most of us this remains an experience that always seems beyond us. We’re lucky if we can get to the end of one round of repeating the five Names without wandering off with thoughts of the physical world, and what tasks and troubles we have to face day by day. But the antidote to such a state is more of the same. More meditation is the answer to meditation woes. We’re letting our mind analyze and make judgments whereas actually any effort we make to sit is progress and is added to our credit and brings us closer to the inevitable day when our date with physical death arrives.

If we’ve been following the instructions we’ll have no need for Google; we’ll know the answer to “what happens at the time of death and after?” We will have experienced it.

  1. Philosophy of the Masters Vol. 1, 7th ed 2002, pg 148.
  2. Philosophy of the Masters Vol. 1, 7th ed 2002, pg 147-148.
  3. Philosophy of the Masters Vol. 1, 7th ed 2002, pg 148.
  4. Philosophy of the Masters Vol. 1, 7th ed 2002, pg 151.
  5. Philosophy of the Masters Vol. 1, 7th ed 2002, pg 150.
  6. Philosophy of the Masters Vol. 1, 7th ed 2002, pg 150.
  7. Philosophy of the Masters Vol. 1, 7th ed 2002, pg 149.